Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Indian lootocracy

India, besides being a mobocracy and quotocracy, is a lootocracy. People in power and those who can influence people in power through bribes and other means loot the country. Politicians want to loot the country even after they lose power. When there is criticism of politicians some say “Don’t criticize politicians. All are not bad. There are some good politicians.” After some demands for privileges by former speakers Purno Albert Sangma and Somnath Chatterjee it seems no good politician is left.

It is a shame that P. A. Sangma and Somnath Chatterjee wrote to Meira Kumar for privileges former speakers. Other former speakers are Balram Jakhar, Rabi Ray, Shivraj Patil and Manohar Joshi. P. A. Sangma and Rabi Ray were Speakers for less than two years. Manohar Joshi was speaker for two years. Purno Albert Sangma and Somnath Chatterjee wanted privileges because former presidents, vice presidents and prime ministers get privileges. Somnath Chatterjee later said he made a request, he does not want a house in Delhi, when in Delhi he wants secretarial staff, a car and driver.

When the constitution was framed only the president was entitled to some privileges, like free house and pension, after ceasing to hold office. Over the years the privileges were extended to vice president and prime minister. Some years back law was changed to enable even a spouse of a former president to get benefits. If former speakers get benefits deputy speakers and deputy chairpersons will also demand benefits. Meira Kumar is willing to grant privileges to former speakers. She too can enjoy those privileges when she becomes former speaker.

Industrialists who bribe politicians in power grow richer. If they make profit, they keep it. If they make losses government bails them out by corporate debt restructuring. Those who do not bribe get into trouble even if they have broken no law. If they win the case in Supreme Court the law gets changed retrospectively. If Vodafone had bribed people who mattered, the law would not have been changed retrospectively by way of clarification in Finance Bill 2012. If 122 telecom companies whose licences were struck down by Supreme Court had bribed people in power a new law would have nullified the judgment.

Bureaucrats who loot the country have made lot of money. Their salaries are in thousands, the bribes are in crores. Some were found with more than 100 crore rupees.

There are journalists who assist politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and others in looting the country. Some journalists report some small cases of corruption but do not report big cases. When some big cases become public knowledge these journalists justify the corrupt.

When central government grants privileges, state governments follow suit. In some states former chief ministers get free houses. MLALADS and MLCLADS followed MPLADS.

The loot of the country must be stopped. Privileges should be scrapped. If anyone has to be provided security it should be at his/her private residence. Security should be provided if there is need and not as status symbol. It should be to the people who held office and not to their family members. Former presidents, vice presidents, prime ministers and their family members should be asked to vacate houses provided to them. They should travel at their expense.

We should abolish pension for MPs. There was no pension till some decades back. Then MPs gave it themselves. It was for those who were MPs for five years. Then it was changed to all MPs. So if someone is MP even for a day he gets pension for life. For those who were MPs upto five years it is Rs.20,000/- p.m. For others it is Rs.1,500/- p.m. more for each additional year completed. The number of ex-MPs being more than 1,000 pension per month will be more than 20 crore rupees per month.

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